Are you looking for tips for successful weight loss? You're in the right place! Obesity is an epidemic. Worldwide, the rate of obesity has more than tripled since 1975. In the United States, close to 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. At the current rate, all American adults will be affected by obesity by 2048.
The best-proven treatment for morbid obesity is weight loss surgery. To qualify for weight loss surgery, a person must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of > 35 and two obesity-associated conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea) or a BMI > 40.
To be successful with weight loss, surgery or not, behavioral modification and dietary changes are required. For my weight loss surgery patients, I recommend and encourage the following changes summarized in the next 5 steps. These steps will work on anyone, with the exception of patients who have uncontrolled conditions that significantly affect their metabolic rate (example: hypothyroidism). Please note: I underlined uncontrolled because when metabolic conditions are controlled metabolic then your metabolic rate should be normal. Here are 5 steps for successful weight loss.
1. Make Healthy Food Choices
You must develop a habit of eating healthy meals that are high in protein, but low on carbohydrates and fats. Some examples are fish, turkey, and chicken. Avoid pastas and breads. Substitute some things with their healthier option. When eating rice chose brown rice or replace it with quinoa. When eating potatoes, choose sweet potato instead. When eating pasta choose whole wheat pasta.
2. Practice Portion Control
Do not guesstimate your portion sizes. Objectively, measure your meals using measuring cups and portion controlled plates. Learn more about Portion Control from a previous blog write up.
3. Eat FIVE Meals Per Day
Yes FIVE! Your daily meals should be set in the following manner. Make sure to follow steps 1 and 2 when doing your meals.
- Breakfast: healthy oats, hard-boiled egg with 1 slice of whole wheat, 45 calories bread.
- Mid-morning: snack
- Lunch: grilled chicken breast, green beans, and carrots
- Mid-afternoon: snack
- Dinner: baked branzino, quinoa, and beets.
Your snacks could be a protein shake (such as Bariatric Advantage Protein Replacement), a fruit, greek yogurt, or string cheese. It could be anything that’s high protein and low calories. You should understand that these steps are meant to be followed together. If you’re not doing step 1 but you’re doing step 3 you will gain a lot of weight. So make sure you comply with all the steps.
4. Slow Down when Eating
Studies have shown that the ideal time to eat our meals should be 20 minutes. Here’s the physiology behind it. When we feel hungry it is a result of our brains sending a signal to make us aware that we are low in fuel. This signal comes out of our hypothalamus. When we start eating, our stomachs start producing a substance (Leptin) that travels in our bloodstream to the brain and turns off the hunger center in the hypothalamus. This is known as a negative-feedback loop. It takes 20 minutes for this process to occur. When we eat fast, taking less than 20 minutes, we don’t allow enough time for the stomach to produce this hormone and although we feel full after the meal – majority of time due to the size of it – we start feeling hungry again within the hour.
Here are tips to help you slow down when eating:
- Breakdown the process of biting chewing and swallowing into 3 independents maneuvers
- Take one bite at a time
- Chew (you can count to 30 in your mind as you chew then swallow (count to 30 again after swallowing and before engaging into the next bite)
5. Get Active
Increasing your level of activity is extremely important for all the previous steps to work and achieve weight loss. For adequate weight loss, recent studies have shown 4 – 6 hours of exercises per week are required. Any exercise counts, find what works best for you. Exercising at the gym or riding a bike, walking, boxing, or Zumba, you name it. I usually recommend exercising one hour per day, to have the less impact on your schedule. You can break the exercise into 15 – 20 minute sessions throughout the day. Be creative with exercises, walk up and down the stairs during your lunch break. Have dumbbells in your office and exercise your arms when on long phone calls.
In summary, the FIVE steps for successful weight loss are as follows:
- Healthy food choices
- Portion control
- Eat 5 meals per day
- Eat slow (20 minutes)
- Exercise (4–6 hours/week)
These steps for successful weight loss combined will achieve the following:
- Improve the quality of calories you consume
- Reduce the amount of calories you consume
- Maintain a balance and constant amount of calories in your system throughout the day
- More efficient control of hunger by following the physiologic negative-feedback loop
- Increase your metabolic rate which would help with utilization of daily calories for production of energy and burning excess fatty tissue
Original post by Eric Velazquez on ericvelazquezmd.com